I Accept the “Eating From The Pantry” Challenge.

by Angela Davis on January 1, 2010

HoooBoy, there, I said it. Now I’m stuck aren’t I?……Yikes!

I have been feeling like my freezers, pantry and refrigerator are FULL of food and so when I saw that MoneySavingMom and FishMama have teamed up to host an “Eating from the Pantry” Challenge, I decided that that was just the motivation I needed and you all are just the accountability partners I needed to pull it off. Thanks!

The hosts have made it clear that this isn’t about only eating from the pantry, but about being more purposeful in using what you already have. With that thought, and more thoughts on what others are doing here, I have made up my own rules for how this challenge will look for my family.

Ways to not spend money:
1. meal plan
I’ve been hit and miss with this one, so hopefully this challenge will make this a habit
2. use beef from freezer
We bought half a cow a few months ago at $2.45/lb. We’re good on meat for a while
3. use dried beans from cupboards
I’ve never used beans except from a can, but I’ve bought them intending to do so!
4. use frozen veggies from freezer
Was that redundant?

What I will be spending money on:
1. milk
2. chicken
I’m thinking 4 lbs. for the month
3. fruit
Apples, pears, whatever fruit is on sale
4. lettuce

We eat lots of salad around here
5. eggs

I’m sure there will be something else that will cross my mind later that I won’t want to do without, but we’ll see. Basically, I am going to try really hard to meal plan for the whole month so I have an idea of how much to give myself for grocery money. I’d like to cut my grocery budget in half, which would then be $25 per week for 2 adults, a three year old and a two year old.

How exciting! Anyone else want to join me and the other bloggers who are taking the challenge as well? Go on over to MoneySavingMom and take the plunge!


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather January 3, 2010 at 5:35 am


I meant to buy a 1/4 cow this past summer but by the time I was ready, most local farmers were sold out. I have a TON of names of farms in Eastern WA (they come over to deliver!) or Skagit County. If you want them, let me know (I'm sure people here don't want to read a long list if it doesn't interest them…LOL!).


Frugal Living Online January 3, 2010 at 12:07 am

I get nearly all of my crockpot recipes from crockpot365 . blogspot .com Nearly all her recipes have turned out delicious!
I bought half a cow from a man who goes to my church. It's nice to know the source of the beef. If I didn't know anyone then I would probably just start asking people you know and eventually someone should know a source. Also, make sure to ask the size of the cow before you say how much of the cow you want. I asked for 1/2 a cow and it ended up being too much for my freezer!
you are at where I hope to be someday! I keep wanting to make my own broth, but I just haven't yet. Thanks for the tips:)
Anon 3:00
Wow! I want to do that! I even have old windows, now to get my DH to build me a box.


Anonymous January 2, 2010 at 11:00 pm

rebecca- we eat lots of salad around here too…so what i did was had my dad help me build a cedar box (about 4 feet by 3 feet) and i used an old window and made a cold frame. You can get old windows at the rebuilding center in portland. i planted 8 heads of lettuce and continue to sew as i pull them out. so – about 35 heads of lettuce all early winter and into summer costs about 1.50


syndicalist_couponer January 2, 2010 at 7:54 pm

you could cut you grocery budget even more if you gave up meat. your children and the planet would be healthier.


Twin Mom January 2, 2010 at 5:55 pm

If you like P&G products, spend some money at Albertson's. 40% off Pampers and Tide is hard to beat.


michellewaite1 January 2, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I started making my own beans last year. We raised our own chickens and turkey this year. I put the chicken bones in the crockpot immediately after cutting the chicken up and make broth. I freeze the broth. When I am ready to make beans, I Run the broth under hot water until it is loose enough to go into the crockpot, then I add the beans and cook on high for a couple of hours. My husband and younger son are huge bean fans so they usually go fast. I often make some rice up and make bean burritos for DH to take to work. If you don't raise your own meat, buy a whole chicken at roasted at Costo.
If you have the Moosewood Restuarant Low-Fat Cookbook, look up Fat Tuesday's Skinny Red Beans. It uses many root veggies which are in season. It is great with a side of cornbread.


Carla in Seattle January 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I love the crock pot idea. Do you have a section where you keep these recipes, like under recipes? :)

I have been meaning to buy a beef (or half or quarter…). How did you go about it? Did you know someone or just call a butcher one day?


Frugal Living Online January 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

Anon 7:22
Great idea! I never do like leftover pot roast, so this will be great, thanks!
Anon 7:49
I'll definitely be implimenting that idea for the beans, thanks!
well if they are free then I think that would be fair to take advantage of, now other deals, like the Nabisco crackers at Safeway that I wanted to do again….hmmmm, i'm not sure about that one. Stink!
the extra freezer full of meat does give me the advantage, I will admit. The rest of my pantry, however, isn't much. I don't have a single box of mac n cheese or any other type of boxed meal, but the crockpot and a frozen chunk of meat w/other pantry ingredients will probably end up being my fall back method. Oh, and btw, I love macncheese, I just can't bring myself to spend any amount of money on it. Just so you know I'm not dissing on having mac n cheese in the house.


Anonymous January 2, 2010 at 6:28 am

nice post. thanks.


Dsperin January 2, 2010 at 5:18 am

I just can't deal with this idea. The pantry "stuff" is what I use when I don't have a plan. I mean, aside from the staples that I use regularly. Canned soup, mac n' cheese and all that are last minute foods. And my freezer? Forget about it. What I wouldn't give for a big freezer!


Heather January 2, 2010 at 4:18 am

Carla, you're killing me here! GAH! I hadn't thought of that. Hhmmm…maybe I can allow a certain dollar amount for great deals & donate that to the food bank. That way I can rationalize it. :)


Carla in Seattle January 2, 2010 at 3:57 am

How are you going to avoid buying any deals that crop up at our favorite stores this month??


Anonymous January 2, 2010 at 3:49 am

I just this year started cooking my own beans.I have found that if I make a giant crockpot full of beans at a time and then freeze them in small freezer bags that we actually eat them!


Anonymous January 2, 2010 at 3:22 am

Here's an idea for something you might already have: pie crusts, frozen veggies, and cream of mushroom soup.

Day 1: Make pot roast in crock pot.

Day 2: Take left-over pot roast, dump in pie crust, add some frozen peas or other frozen veggies, add cream of mushroom soup, top with pie crust, and bake. 350 for 30 minutes to start, and then check it until it's done. My family loves this.


maygan January 2, 2010 at 2:37 am

Good luck with your challange! I'm participating as well- and I think it's awesome to have so many other bloggers playing along. I can't wait to see how we all do!


Heather January 2, 2010 at 2:16 am

I've been toying with the idea of signing up for the challenge, but you inspired me to finally do it! It's gonna be a bit of a challenge since we've actually used most of our frozen meat, but I'll tweak it to fit our situation.

Thanks for forcing me to commit!


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